Through a spouses eyes...

Hey Everyone!
Recentely our group here has gotten me thinking more about unconditional love. We as TG's want nothing more from our spouses, but are we really giving of ourselves what we so much desire? The more I think about it the more elusive it seems to become. After some soul searching I have found a way for my spouse and I to work toward that goal. Here goes...
To tell the truth, most love is not unconditional. Few people will put up with continued abuse, dishonesty or infidelity just to name a few things. Even the best of love has limits. IMHO, to receive unconditional love you must give the same, you must also respect and honor your mate. We in the TG world seem to equate the total acceptance of being TG with unconditional love. Such is not the case. As TG folks we need to know when our spouses reach a limit they are comfortable with. I mean the last thing we want is our spouses to be uncomfortable, that is the least we can do. Why? Because we unconditionally love them, or do we. Do we ask more of our spouses then we are willing to give? Do we ask them to, accept, change, feel unfilled or go without, all while trying to fulfill our own needs? Unconditional love or love of any kind is a two way street, it requires trust, respect and a desire to see both your spouse and yourself happy. If those two goals are not compatible, then there is bound to be problems. In the recent past, I have started trying my best to see things through my wife's eyes, and you know what? She is pretty awesome, I am not sure I could muster the same support and acceptance if the roles were reversed. Many of us (me included) always seem to want just a bit more. But looking through my wife's eyes I see how much I have and how much effort she puts into accepting me for me. It is now my turn to do the same. Accept her for any limitations she has regarding me being TG, accept her for the times when she has "had it up to hear" with the whole thing, accept her when she gets upset with Shari. I owe her that much, lord knows she has gone to great lengths to try and accept me.
Peace all


Stephanie Yates said…
I agree wholeheartedly with Shari on this. Marriage is a two way street and it isn't based on both parties getting 100% of everything they want or even need. There has to be compromise, but in compromising we show our human spirit at its finest. In a marriage, when we give up something we want, we demonstrate love, trust, compassion and understanding for our spouse. And if that gift of love is received by one who loves equally, then it is likely that the one who compromised will be rewarded in the future with love, trust, compassion and understanding in return. And this can apply to TG as with any other. It won't always happen, but it can and it's a matter of being patient, communicating and trying to do what Shari advocates here--look at things from the spouse's perspective and hope that she will adopt the same attitude.
Re: Through a spouses eyes...

Thanks for posting this Shari! You always have such a balanced perspective on things, and it is much appreciated. I know that in the past I may have seemed somewhat one-sided, urging wives to love their TG spouses unconditionally, without giving enough balance to both sides. You are absolutely correct, however, that such love is most definitely a two-way street.

The catch-22 that is commonly encountered is...

TG person - "if you love me unconditionally you will let me do what I need to be happy"

Spouse - "if you love me unconditionally you won't do something that makes me unhappy"

Both sides have merit. So how can this be resolved? As both Shari and Stephanie have noted, it is a matter of compromise! Both sides must adapt to one anothers needs. If either side is unwilling to compromise, there can be no balance. The question is, can we make these compromises "win-win", or does someone always have to "lose"?

The phrase "unconditional love" is perhaps faulty, for there are many "conditions" to love, actually. For example, honesty, compassion, empathy, kindness, patience, forgiveness, are all conditions which must exist for mutual romantic love to last. When I think of "unconditional love", I am reminded of a parent/child love, or even that of a pet with their human. This sort of love is based upon loving *who they are*, as opposed to loving *what they do*. Most parents will affirm that their love for their children is unshaken, even when they are displeased by their actions. Can not the same level of love and commitment exist between spouses?

While I cannot propose any magic solutions, what works for some may not work for others, my best advice for a TG person who wants unconditional love from their spouse is that they must begin giving the same, starting now. That means unconditional forgiveness, first. Forgive her (your spouse) for anything and everything she might have ever said or done to hurt you. Give her a clean slate, and do so every day if necessary. Have the empathy not to hold grudges against her because you know she is doing the best she can given what she understands today. New understandings have the power to transform her feelings, for better or worse, so do your part to patiently assist her understandings about your transness to develop positively.

If you want unconditional acceptance from her, don't focus on her "faults" but rather accept and love every part of her. Don't fight with her about TG issues because that only makes the issue an enemy to her. Through your own compassion and acceptance of her, the energy you convey will influence that which you receive back. While it may seem a difficult task on your part to accept and forgive her unconditionally every single day, remember that this is what you are hoping she will do for you. Don't underestimate her ability to love you, and give her every reason to do so.

I believe that Love has the power to transcend anything, including gender. This is an issue which we should continue delving into, as there are so many marriages on the rocks, many of which needn't be if only they could see the light of empathy, understanding and compromise.

Thanks again Shari, I hope to hear much more from you and everyone else who is interested in this topic.

Blessed be,
Samantha Leigh said…

I appreciate the thoughts that you have brought to the table here. I live most of my life gender bending or En Femme. I go out in public with my wife and kids. I am fairly public about being Transgender/ Cross dresser. Yet some have said that my wife is somehow not accepting, and that she does not Love unconditionally. I scratch my head, I’m glad she’s my wife.

What is Unconditional Love? First I will tell you what it is not, it is not Co-dependency. The book, “The Woman Who Loved Too Much” is about co-dependency. If you are a doormat for some one, or if these words come up in conversation, “If you loved me…”; you’re in a co-dependant relationship. As Transgender people our goal should not only be to not be stepped on, but we should endeavor to not trample others. If the Love is truly unconditional no conditions will be placed from either person in the relationship, the Love.

Is the goal of Love to gain what is best, or to acquire short term gratification? It should be obvious that If I love someone I will want what is best for them. Unfortunately the people we love do not always want what is best for them. Is it the loving thing to agree to go along with self-destructive behavior and just put on a happy hat? An Enabler is not practicing unconditional Love.

Looking at unconditional love only from a spousal/significant other perspective or relationship, I think can emotionally confuse what it is. A parent I think really can appreciate the responsibility that goes with unconditional love. Children will make many silly and foolish demands of their parents. A good parent does not give in to every request. As a parent it is my responsibility to raise a physically and psychologically healthy child to adulthood. I discipline, correct, punish my kids for things they do wrong, because I love them. I want them to learn right from wrong, I want them to be decent human beings. If I did not love them I suppose I could just let them do whatever did not annoy me.

To assume that in an adult relationship, at times our partner in a given area may not be foolish is to be naïve. When decisions are made unilaterally with no conversation or consideration for a partner, unconditional love does not require that we acquiesce. When no do consideration has been given to the partner alarm bells should be going off. Ask your self if you are expected to be co-dependant or to be Loving.

Whether you believe he is GOD, the Son of God, or just a really nice guy; Jesus Christ is the example of living unconditional Love. Not only did he not stone the woman found in adultery but he also told her “go and sin no more”. As Jesus went about doing good for people, his critics looked for ways to condemn him; he looked at them with anger. You can love someone and be angry with them because of the actions they take that are unloving. You can find no incidence where Jesus was a push over for someone who is foolish, stupid or evil. You can find no point where Jesus tolerated, accepted, or promoted unloving, foolish or stupid behavior.

Love is patient. Acting in love does not lead to quick judgement and condemnation. When someone you love does something foolish you lovingly wait for them to come to their senses, explaining what you think they did wrong.

Love is kind. When you act in love you will do good things. You will give of yourself asking nothing in return. You will be benevolent toward others.

Love envies not. Love does not have an excessive desire for something. Love does not covet. Love is not about “what is in it for me?”

Love does not vaunt itself, does not puff itself up. When you are acting in love it is not about YOU. You don’t brag about yourself, you do not act because of the recognition you will receive. It’s not “Hey Look At ME!”.

Love does not behave unseemly. If you are acting in love you are not making a spectacle of yourself. Yes as transgender people we are breaking social norms and at times calling attention to ourselves, we should avoid bad behavior and be courteous though. Don’t dress like a hooker to go to church or a PTA meeting.

Love is not selfish. If it’s all about me and what makes me happy, then it’s not love. Love is about doing what makes other’s happy. The person who is making demands, is not walking in love, “If you love me you will support me in gaining my happiness.”; you’re wrong. My openly transgender life is where it is at because my wife wants me to be happy, and I will not do things that I know will make her unhappy.

Love is not easily provoked. Yeah, maybe you need to be angry sometimes but that is not the first stop, for the Love train. This goes hand in hand with love being patient.

Love thinks no evil. At times your partner will do something that will piss you off. Until you have had a chance to discuss it with them, do not assume the worst motives on their part. They may actually have made a mistake and were not trying to piss you off intentionally. When you are away from someone, unless you have evidence otherwise, do not assume that they are up to no good.

Love does not rejoice in iniquity. When something bad happens to some one we do not like we do not celebrate. It should always be our desire that people change and walk in love, rather than suffer consequence of the wrong they have done.

Love rejoices in the truth. When someone is foolish, we do not pretend to tolerate, accept or support them in their foolishness. We are to be honest with how we think or feel.

Love covers all things. It is not for those who walk in love to talk about other peoples foolishness. We are not to be gossips.

Love is of GOD. One can not love without GOD. Love believeth GOD, Love trusts in GOD. And Love endures through GOD’s strength.

Love never fails. You will always be better off walking in Love. Living the concepts embodied above will guarantee inner peace and success in life.

I found what you said is true, in the sense we as married couples need to view life from the other perspective. Also, having dealt with TG issues in my life over our 24 years of marriage I know that at times I have put my wants over my wife and have hurt her.
Marriage is 2 people becoming one and if I have learned anything communication and mutual respect are very important.

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